Healthy eating campaigner demands food changes at Milton Keynes hospital

A woman has gone to the health Ombudsman with her complaint about the amount of sugary and processed snacks on sale at MK hospital.

Campaigner Virginia Bell has been complaining for months to hospital bosses and the PALS Patient Advice and Liaison Service about the unhealthy foods sold in the hospital’s Costa Coffee outlet and vending machines throughout the building,

She said: “It’s the sort of food which has caused people to be admitted to hospital in the first place and it is destroying our planet.”

Virginia, who once demanded MK Council orders all local schools to phase out meat in favour of plant-based meals, has slammed Costa for serving bacon and other processed meats.

MK hospital

"The cafe serves highly refined, high saturated fat foods.. And snack machines in the hospital are continuing to sell crisps and chocolates and other high sugar, high salt, high fat, highly refined and low fibre unhealthy foods.

“I asked that processed meats and junk food should be banned.”

PALS replied that the Trust has no say in the items Costa sells, but the main hospital restaurant serves “fresh and healthy” foods.

They said the vending machines were operated by a private company but promised the Trust would investigate options for the, to contain healthier foods when the contract came up for review.

Virginia was unhappy with the reply so forwarded her complaint to the Parliamentary and Health service Ombudsman.

She said: “I am extremely concerned about the impact on public health and environmental health of junk foods. I would like this concern to be taken seriously.”

The Ombudsman’s office this week replied saying there would be no further action on the complaint.

They wrote: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on our service and the organisations we receive complaints about. These unprecedented pressures

have led to people waiting far longer than usual for us to look at their complaint. To address this, we have decided to focus on the more serious complaints that people bring to us, where they may have faced a big impact.

"This means we are not looking into complaints where we can see there has been a smaller impact. Based on the impact you told us about, this applies in your complaint.”